Tuckasegee quarry permit denied

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer

Tuckasegee community members are at ease now that the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources denied a quarry permit to Carolina Boulder and Stone.

Community members have been up in arms for the past year about a proposed rock quarry that would have been located at the intersection of N.C. 281 and N.C. 107.

“We are overjoyed,” Tuckasegee resident Beverly Turrentine said. “We (the community) have worked very hard.”

“It’s a victory for the community,” said Mark Jamison of Webster.

Carolina Boulder & Stone LLC of Franklin has been submitting information since July to DENR to receive a state mining permit. However, the company’s application did not meet several critical guidelines set forth in the state Mining Law of 1971, said Jim Simons, director and state geologists at DENR.

The negative impact the quarry would have on the community’s watershed, wildlife and overall environment were among the reasons the permit was denied, he explained.

If the state had approved the permit, the proposed project would not have come to fruition because it did not meet the requirements of the county’s industrial development ordinance. The site did not meet the county’s setback distance of 1,320 linear feet from the nearest property line of a residential or commercial building.

Jackson County officials are also relieved that the permit has been denied.

“If they issued a permit, they (Carolina Boulder & Stone) may have challenged our ordinance,” said Jackson County Commissioner William Shelton.

Without a permit in hand, what will become of the 57-acre tract of land? L.C. Jones, manager of Carolina Boulder and Stone and the property owner, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Some community members would like to see the land used for a community center or a recreation park built.

“There is not a lot of open space not being used,” she said. “It would be nice to see something positive come from this.”

Community leaders had been in negotiation with the property’s former owner, James Vanderwoude, about purchasing the property. That was before he sold it to Carolina Boulder and Stone in October.

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